Romantic Castle Weddings
Every bride dreams of a romantic, fairytale wedding, and some are willing to make the fantasy a reality by holding the event at an actual castle. Once upon a time castle weddings meant a trip to England; today, weddings can be held at castles across the globe -- even in the United States -- at lavish locales. Brides and grooms can play the role of royalty: arriving by horse-drawn carriage, holding cocktail hour on a candlelit terrace overlooking bucolic landscapes, dancing in a real ballroom and even capping off the evening with their own fireworks display.
From North Carolina to Italy, see our picks for the most wedding-worthy castles.
The castle features 3 unique outdoor sites at which to hold your wedding, each with views of the castle, ruins and surrounding hills: Brides can choose from among the North Lawn, which holds 500 guests and overlooks a barn, gardens and carp pond; the Hop Field, which can also accommodate a large number of guests; or the smaller Mulberry Lawn, named for the centuries-old mulberry trees that border it. The castle also offers indoor venues as well, including the medieval Banqueting Hall, complete with roaring fire, armor, banners and a flagstone floor. For a more intimate reception, try the Private Library; filled with tapestries, leather-bound books, antiques and art, it holds 25 people. The castle will recommend trusted suppliers, and will strive to create a personalized, bespoke experience for each wedding.
The castle employs an on-site wedding coordinator to ensure every detail of your special day is perfectly executed, and brides and grooms will enjoy the services of the castle's hair and makeup specialists. In addition to the standard wedding events, such as the service, cocktail hour, dinner and entertainment, the Chateau also presents a number of unique add-ons to your wedding package, such as fireworks, harp music, a jazz band, period reenactors from France’s La Belle Époque (“Beautiful Era”) and even a local artist who will paint personalized watercolors of your wedding day. The castle also serves as a bed-and-breakfast, so all guests can sleep on the premises.
The castle fell into disrepair in the 17th century, then restored by an English lord in the 19th century in a dramatic, Gothic Revival-style architecture. Brides can make their fantasy wedding a reality by setting their ceremony and cocktail hour outdoors in the perfectly manicured garden and terrace, then plan dinner in the candle- and torch-lit castle courtyard. Afterward, plan for dancing in the garden, capped off at evening's end with a brilliant fireworks display.
The sprawling estate offers several locations where the wedding banquet can be held, including the Lioncrest ballroom, with vaulted ceiling, antique exposed wooden beams and wrought-iron chandeliers, or outdoors, in the gardens surrounding the marble statue of the goddess Diana, with views of the stunning estate and picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. Couples can also orchestrate the event so they arrive at the property via horse-drawn carriage, followed by cocktails on the Library Terrace, and dinner and dancing in the Stable Courtyard and Gardens adjacent to the estate. As if your wedding weren't entertainment enough, guests can also take part in a behind-the-scenes tour of the estate, including a 90-minute motor coach tour of the property, or a private wine tasting at the Biltmore winery.
Naturally, the castle and its gardens provide a picturesque backdrop for a wedding, and of course, the wedding photos: The ceremony can be held in the midst of the castle gardens, or by the reflecting pool, with Dunedin City visible in the distance. After tying the knot, the wedding party and guests can head to the castle terrace for a cocktail, then saunter into the castle ballroom for the reception, enjoying its twinkling chandeliers, roaring fireplace and opulent, Victorian furnishings.